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Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 13 (2):191-192

Dezembro 2005

A feeding record of the Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus in its

southern range
Alexander V. Christianini

Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia, Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas,
(Unicamp), CP. 6109, 13083-970, Campinas, SP

Recebido em 28 de abril de 2005; aceito em 17 de maio de 2005

RESUMO. Um registro de alimentação do gavião-de-cauda-curta Buteo brachyurus no sul de sua distribuição. Embora Buteo brachyurus
tenha uma distribuição extensa nas Américas, o conhecimento de sua dieta é restrito a populações do norte de sua distribuição. Eu reporto um
evento de predação de B. brachyurus sobre Crypturellus parvirostris num fragmento de floresta semidecídua em Gália, SP, no sul da distribui-
ção deste gavião. Este é provavelmente o registro da maior ave já capturada por esta espécie.
KEY WORDS: Accipitridae, Atlantic forest, Crypturellus parvirostris, predation.
PALAVRAS-CHAVE: Accipitridae, Crypturellus parvirostris, Mata Atlântica, predação.

The Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus occurs from still warm. The head of the tinamou had been already eaten
south USA through Central America, and south to northern by the hawk, with the exception of the bill, and the feathers
Argentina and Chile (Thiollay 1994). This species is found of the tinamous’s breast, where a deep wound could be
to be uncommon, although widespread in large areas of observed, had been pulled out. I left the scene in order to
South America (Robinson 1994, Manosa et al. 2003, not disturb the hawk, and I came back 20 minutes latter,
Blendinger et al. 2004). Buteo brachyurus search for prey but the hawk had disappeared. The tinamou, which weight-
while soaring above the canopy, suddenly diving on prey ed 215 g (without the head), was deposited at the ornitho-
(Ogden 1974, Robinson 1994). In the only long-term study logical collection of the Museu de História Natural da Uni-
carried out with this species Ogden (1974) reports the camp (ZUEC 2223). This is the largest bird prey ever
Short-tailed Hawk as a specialist bird hunter: 95 birds were recorded for B. brachyurus (see Ogden 1974, p. 99-101),
observed as prey in 98 feeding records in south Florida, which represents nearly 41 % of the body weight of an
USA. The other records refer to small rodents. Neverthe- adult female Short-tailed Hawk (530 g; Thiollay 1994). An
less, very little has been documented regarding the species analysis of the gut contents of the tinamou revealed several
diet out from its northern range. Additional food items intact M. fistulifera seeds, and thus, the tinamou had been
known for this species, including reptiles and insects, come probably captured while foraging on those seeds on the
from anecdotal records or museum specimens, most of ground.
them from the northern range (Ogden 1974, and references Buteo brachyurus was occasionally sighted soaring sin-
therein). However, as Bierregaard (1995) pointed out, we gle or in pairs above the canopy near the edge of the forest
still need data from representative areas in different por- fragment. They probably get involved in opportunistic pre-
tions of the species’ range in order to have a better picture dation events such as that recorded. However, the scarcity
of the natural history and conservation needs of B. of long-term studies in the whole range of B. brachyurus
brachyurus. Since the review of Thiollay (1994) virtually constrains an evaluation of the spectrum of prey size, and
no information has been added to the natural history of B. how local conditions (e.g. prey availability) influence its
brachyurus. Here I report on a prey capture by the Short- diet. While knowledge on natural history of several raptors
tailed Hawk in southeastern Brazil, in the southern range is far from complete and long-term studies are demanding,
of the species. opportunistic records are step by step increasing the infor-
On 8 October 2000, during a study at an Atlantic forest mation available for poorly known species in the Neotro-
fragment at Estação Ecológica dos Caetetus (2,148 ha, pics (Martuscelli 1996, Whittaker 1996).
22º22’S, 49º42’W) in Gália, western São Paulo state,
Brazil, I was driving through a dirty road at the edge of the ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
fragment near a patch of fruiting Mabea fistulifera (Eu-
phorbiaceae) trees when I saw a Short-tailed Hawk on the I thank Mauro Galetti for calling my attention to the
ground, holding a medium-sized bird in the talons. Soon scarcity of data on the diet of Buteo brachyurus, and Mi-
afterwards, the hawk flew to a nearby tree, leaving the prey lene M. Martins, Marco A. Pizo and an anonymous review-
laying on the ground. I approached to check the prey, a er for comments on the manuscript. AVC is supported by a
Small-billed Tinamou Crypturellus parvirostris, which was fellowship from FAPESP.
OrnitologiaAA.qxd 15/12/2005 17:40 Page 56

192 Notas


Bierregaard, R. O., Jr. (1995) The biology and conserva- Ogden, J. C. (1974) The Short-tailed Hawk in Florida. I.
tion status of Central and South American Falconi- Migration, habitat, hunting techniques, and food
formes: a survey of current knowledge. Bird Cons. Int. habits. Auk 91:95-110.
Robinson, S. K. (1994) Habitat selection and foraging
Blendinger, P. C., P. Caplionch and M. E. Alvarez (2004) ecology of raptors in Amazonian Peru. Biotropica
Abundance and distribution of raptors in the Sierra de 26:443-458.
San Javier Biological Park, northwestern Argentina.
Thiollay, J. M. (1994) Family Accipitridae (Hawks and
Orn. Neotrop. 15:501-512.
Eagles), p. 52-205. In: J. del Hoyo, A. Elliot and J.
Manosa, S., E. Mateos and V. Pedrocchi (2003) Abundance Sargatal (eds.) Handbook of the birds of the world, 2.
of soaring raptors in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.
J. Raptor Res. 37:19-30.
Whittaker, A. (1996) Nesting records of the genus Daptrius
Martuscelli, P. (1996) Hunting behaviour of the Mantled (Falconidae) from the Brazilian Amazon, with the first
Hawk Leucopternis polionota and the White-necked documented nest of the Black Caracara. Ararajuba
Hawk L. lacernulata in southeastern Brazil. Bull. B. 4:107-109.
O. C. 116:114-116.